Saturday, April 20

Santa Monica College

Local Host: Nuria Rodriguez


Order of Magnitude question: How many carbon atoms are tied up in all the diamond jewelry now possessed by all the people on earth?

Lunch will take place at local restaurants.

  • Take the 10 Freeway West toward Santa Monica
  • exit CLOVERFIELD and Turn LEFT.  Drive 1/2 mile to Pearl.
  • Turn RIGHT on PEARL Street.
  • just as you enter the campus, turn RIGHT into the Science parking Lot 1.
  • Find the building that says SCIENCE and enter; the meeting is inside.

Campus map

Park on campus in Lot 1.  Parking is Free!

The deadline for submitting an abstract has passed.

8:15 Registration and refreshments
8:30 Lab Tour of Santa Monica College
9:00 Welcome and Announcements
9:15 Contributed talk: Jacob Morris, Santa Monica College – Circuit Voltages and Magnetic FluxA simple demonstration is presented that illustrates Faraday’s Law and how magnetic flux can affect voltage measurements of circuit elements.
9:30 Contributed talk: Gary Reynolds, Santa Ana HS – Physics and the Next Generation Science StandardsOut with “No Child Left Behind”; In with “Common Core”, the new “biggest thing” in K-12 education reform.   NGSS, Next Generation Science Standards, is the science component of Common Core.  I’ll talk about what it is, and how it may affect physics education in high school and college.
9:45 Invited talk: James Bauer, JPL – Primitives Amongst Giants:  Anatomy of the Outer Solar System Small BodiesThe minor planets and comets from beyond the asteroid Main Belt provide links with the Solar System’s distant past. As bearers of volatiles they also play a current role in the evolution of the terrestrial planets. We will describe the relationships between the outer solar system small body populations, and some of the more recent findings concerning them.
10:15 Invited talk: Amy Mainzer JPL – Asteroid Impacts: What We Know, and What’s Left to LearnRecent events in Chelyabinsk, Russia drive home the point that asteroids have impacted the Earth in the past and are certain to do so in the future.  What is the current state of our knowledge about these objects?
10:45 Invited talk: Bonnie Buratti, JPL – Saturn’s Moon Titan: An Earth in Deep FreezeRecent results from the Cassini spacecraft show that many of the same erosional processes that are important on Earth also exist on Titan.
11:45 Business Meeting
12:00 Lunch– Off Campus
1:15 Show and Tell

  • Hydrostatic Pressure in a Coiled Tube – Steve Paik, SMC
  • Chimney Updraft – Harry Manos, LACC
  • Egg into Milk Bottle in Slow Motion – Beth Stoeckly, CSUCI
  • The Aerodynamics of Cars – Dean Papadakis, South Pasadena High School
1:30 Contributed talk: Walter Gekelman, et al., UCLA – Using resonance cones to produce plasma jetsWhen a point source with an oscillating charge is placed in a magnetized plasma,the plasma responds by generating a large number of waves which interfere with one another. The interference pattern is a cone of electric field. The apex is centered on the point source and the cone axis is along the magnetic field. If RF is applied to a ring antenna each point on the ring produces a cone, and the cones form a focus far from the ring. The electric field at the focus can be very large. Resonance cones were generated in the LAPTAG plasma physics device at UCLA. Plasma density is measured with a Langmuir probe. A 2 GHz digital scope is used to record the data as the probe moves through the system. The electric field at the cone apex is large enough to accelerate plasma ions to supersonic velocities. Our goal is use two cones to force the accelerated ions to collide and generate a shock wave. The talk will emphasize the plasma physics as well as physical concepts the students are exposed to.
2:00 Contributed talk: James Lincoln, Tarbut VÂ’Torah HS – 10 Demonstration Experiments with a Plasma BallPlasma balls can be one of the most important and versitile tools for teaching the concepts in static electricity.  In this talk, I provide 10 surprising and exciting additions to the typical demonstrations that are done with the plasma ball.
2:15 Invited talk: Erick Wolf, –  3D Printers: How they work, Why your classroom needs one, and How you can afford itSouthern California-based Airwolf 3D Printers offers 3D printers of exceptional performance, engineered from the bottom up for ease of use and dependability. Using constantly updated open source software, the AW3D V.5 stays abreast of current technology and provides a solid foundation for your journey into the world of 3D printing.  Find out  how 3D Printers work and what they can be used for.
3:15 Contributed talk: Martin Simon, UCLA –  Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?There have been claims that microwave radiation from cell phones and other sources and even 60 Hz power lines and computers can cause cancer.  Physics puts severe constraints on various theories of how this could work.  This talk is a brief review of EM interaction with matter, relevant thermodynamics, and resonance.  Together they rule out some of the proposed mechanisms, such as calcium ion cyclotron resonances in the earth’s magnetic field.
3:45 Contributed talk: Bernard Cleyet, UCSC (retired), Is Popping Corn Kernels an Example of the Poisson Distribution?I’ll describe my attempt to show this along with a similar analysis of Geiger tube pulses.
4:00 Order of Magnitude contest and door prizes
4:15 Adjournment

Over fifty members of the Southern California Section gathered at Santa Monica College (SMC) for a day full of informative presentations and lively discussions. SCAAPT thanks Nuria Rodriguez, Jacob Morris and Steve Paik, who hosted the meeting at SMC, and Bradley “Peanut” McCoy, who served as Program Chair of the meeting. The meeting was called to order by SCAAPT President James Lincoln.

Thanks to several invited speakers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, this meeting had a strong astronomy emphasis. James Bauer shared results of his work where he studies “primitives” in the solar system- comets and other outer solar system objects. Dr. Bauer also described his work with NEOWISE, the Near Earth Object component of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope. Because dark asteroids re-radiate strongly in the infrared, NEOWISE observations can often provide better estimates for NEO diameters than can optical telescopes. He also suggested to attendees that they mark their calendars to look for comet ISON in early to mid-December. Since its perihelion distance will be 1.7 solar radii it’s expected that people should be able to view comet ISON with the naked eye, perhaps even during the daytime.

Bonnie Buratti presented the latest findings from Titan, the only known celestial body, other than earth, that has standing liquid. This moon of Saturn has conditions are near the triple-point of methane. Cassini has observed erosion features and lakes the size of Lake Superior. The atmosphere is remarkably like earth’s as it has similar pressure and composition (large component of nitrogen). There also seasonal cloud patterns and a methane cycle similar to the water cycle on earth. In fact, Titan could be considered another planet as it is larger than Mercury. In addition to her scientific work, Dr. Buratti is also passionate about science education, which has lead her to run summer institutes for science teachers. In her presentation, she showed some of the class activities that she shares with those teachers.

Amy Mainzer studies asteroid belt looking for answers to questions such as: How have these objects, which have been around for billions of years, now been kicked out of their stable orbits and toward earth? In discussing the recent impact near Chelyabinsk Russia, Dr. Mainzer shared information on the scale of meteors. For example, while the meteor in Russia was 17-20m across, most of the “shooting stars” that are observed are much smaller, closer to a grain of rice. Despite their small mass, their kinetic energies are several mega joules thanks to their high velocities.

In the final invited presentation, Erick Wolf of Airwolf3D demonstrated the latest in 3D printing technology and discussed classroom applications. Airwolf3D sells not only assembled printers, but also kits, which can in of themselves become classroom projects. Mr. Wolf pointed out that the printers are now lower price than before. Contributing to 3D printers affordability is the fact that it is now possible to use open-source software when preparing the files. During the discussion, SCAAPT member Joe Wise mentioned that the necessary file to print out your own 3D version of the Vesta asteroid is available on JPL’s website.

During the Business Meeting, members congratulated Mary Mogge on her recent election to Vice-President of AAPT and thanked her for twenty years of service to SCAAPT.

Several other SCAAPT members also gave engaging contributed talks:

  • Jacob Morris, SMC – Circuit Voltages and Magnetic Flux
  • Gary Reynolds, Santa Ana HS – Physics and the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Walter Gekelman, UCLA; Pat Pribyl, UCLA; Joe Wise New Roads School; Bob Baker, University High; Nathan Agmon (student), North Hollywood High; Camie Katz (student), Harvard Westlake; Chris Ha (student), Palos Verdes High – Using resonance cones to produce plasma jets
  • James Lincoln, Tarbut V’Torah HS – 10 Demonstration Experiments with a Plasma Ball
  • Martin Simon, UCLA – Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
  • Bernard Cleyet, UCSC (retired), Is Popping Corn Kernels an Example of the Poisson Distribution?

The ever-popular Show ‘n’ Tell featured demonstrations by Steve Paik, SMC; Harry Manos, Los Angeles City College; Beth Stoeckly, CSU Channel Islands; Raymond Gilmartin (student) and Dean Papadakis, South Pasadena High School.

SCAAPT thanks its corporate sponsors – Edmund Scientific and Arbor Scientific– for their support and donation of door prizes. (Be sure to check out ideas for using a plasma globe, much like the two that were awarded as door prizes, at their website.)